The sea is quite rough, and at Dover a series of heavy waves pounds against a pier and along the adjacent shoreline. The scene then shifts to a different view of flowing water, and shows a heavy current from a point along a riverbank.
A man opens the big gates to the Lumière factory. Through the gateway and a smaller doorway beside it, workers are streaming out, turning either left or right. Most of them are women in ... See full summary »
A gardener is watering his flowers, when a mischievous boy sneaks up behind his back, and puts a foot on the water hose. The gardener is surprised, and looks into the nozzle to find out why... See full summary »
Outdoors, with a nondescript building in the background, four men stand, each holding the corner of a blanket stretched parallel to the ground. They wear the clothes of laborers. By the ... See full summary »
A stationary camera looks across the boulevard at a diagonal toward one corner of Lyon's Cordeliers' Square. It's a long shot, with a great deal of depth of focus. We can see the sky and ... See full summary »
Members of the French Photographic Society arrive from a riverboat to their congress venue in Neuville-sur-Saône on a summer day. They go ashore across a wooden landing stage. Among the ... See full summary »
In commedia dell'arte style, an actor on a stool presents six distinct characters through speedy application of whiskers and a hat or, in one case, a wig followed by a few gestures. First ... See full summary »
The surf pounds against a breakwater on which are visible several people standing. The wall looks to be about 20 feet above sea level and extend at least 100 feet into the water. A large wave rolls picturesquely along the wall toward the shore. Smaller waves follow. Then the scene changes to river water flowing. We see both shores: in the foreground a log and tree branch are visible; on the far shore, there appears to be a low wall with trees beyond it. The camera is stationary in both shots.Written by
Made the same year as the first Lumiere films, this is a much more dramatic short than the brothers attempted until the following year's 'Niagara'. The surviving print is very rough, but this only adds to the Turneresque visual violence, as huge surges of water dash against a stolid pier, and seem ready to engulf the camera, the viewer.
If you watch a number of these early shorts in chronological order, and try to get into the mindset of the times, there is a further shock in that, unlike the single frame set-ups of the Lumieres, this film features an edit, which for me at any rate, was as slashing as the razor blade in 'Un Chien Andoulu).
Unlike the mono-vision of the Lumieres' films, Paul opens up the possibility of multiple perspectives, freeing the viewer from the power of nature, eluding its grasp in a way the Lumieres never could. The second shot features a similar gush to that of Niagara, but is less frightening because, by way of the edit, we have sidestepped the danger. In a film like 'L'Arroseur Arrosse' or 'Repas du bebe', nature stands indifferent and powerful, uncontainable by the camera. Basic film grammar puts an end to its supremacy.
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